Gladiator by Erika Johnson

A blade snaps and clatters to the ground-
splattering crimson.

That clings to the sand.

The crowd roars.

Sweat trickles down my neck,
doing nothing to cool me down from the stinging sun.

A soft prickle of pain bites my chin-
I was hit with the hilt a moment before.

The lifeless bag of flesh hangs at the end of my blade.
I snap my blade away,
and someone shouts.

My hand is held up to the gods.

I don’t get to in lounge in my victory,
I’m already pushed away for the next match.
My feet scuffling the dirt.

A clanking carriage takes the body away.
Ready for the next show.


Soon there will be a day,
my own sword will break,
then I’ll mark the sand with my blood.